My Life in Full

by Indra Nooyi

Book Review

Indira Nooyi, the Former Chairman &CEO, PepsiCo is one of the most iconic leaders and strategic think tanks of world fame in contemporary times who have redefined leadership. She is the first woman of color and an immigrant to run a Fortune 50 company. My life in full is a moving, generous and authoritative account of her extraordinary life, navigating through difficulties which came with her demanding job and growing family.

She takes us through events that shaped her life from childhood, early education in India in the 1960s to the Yale School of Management, and her sharp ascent through the ranks as a corporate consultant into the most senior ranks. With her vigorous pursuit for excellence and a deep sense of pursuit, she steered PepsiCo towards healthier products and reinvented the environmental profile of the company.

The undisguised account wonderfully encapsulates the duality in various aspects of her life. From her origin as a Madras girl to the CEO of a Top American Company, family and work.

This particular anecdote etched in her memory is stated in the book which translates it. One November morning in 2009, Indra recounts this particular narrative etched in her memory. She found herself amidst two prominent world leaders, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama in Washington DC post a number of meetings where the former remarked, after an introduction to the CEO, that ‘she is one of us’ to which President Obama replied, ‘she is one of us too.’ The duality of the competing forces extend to how the society has rapidly changed but for old sticky points and how family is such a powerful source of human strength but creating or nurturing it, a source of stress.

Her struggles, triumphs and thoughtful decisions which reveals how our society continues to sacrifice talent instead of changing and evolving our work culture. The problems encountered, especially by women, are still on the fringe of core issues discussed in development.

It's a clear call for businesses and governments to prioritize the care ecosystem which includes flexibility and paid leaves to provide support to young family builders, which will in turn unleash the economy's full potential.

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